I am a city ghost
Walking homeless in the subways
Under canal bridges
Towards a club beneath the railway arches
In another century.
The old repetition of Saturday night
Grips what’s left of my bones and
I sneak past the bouncer
Knowing what all ghosts know -
That incorporeality has its advantages.
The night-sharp air is not so lucky
As it’s shown the door by anchor-strewn arms.
Inside is silver glitter and glamour, feather boas and tattoos
Music, energy and what passes for love.
The dance is consuming and even I can join in
Embracing the sweat and sheen of skin
With my poor stab at humanity.
When I leave the dance floor, I go to the toilets
In the bodies and glory holes, old habits die hard.
I am still infatuated by
The undeniable honesty of piss and semen.
And I remember the high arches of my mother’s feet
When she sat in the dementia ward with people
Whose twisted limbs no longer remembered how to stand or sit.
And I remember as a child all the goldfish dead in a February pond
Frozen in the ice.
And I remember my father’s shoes with the imprint of bare feet on their soles
Their trickery of naked walking in the winter.
And I remember catching sight of him in the café by the coroner's
Sitting at a table drinking coffee slowly and carefully
And I know now what I didn’t then -
That even the dead need to take a break,
That even ghosts have ghosts.
On the dance floor, my lover can’t see me
But he knows I’m there.
He’s pock-marked beautiful
Kissing the air in front of him
There, there, he whispers. It’ll be alright.
Breathing the truth we all know but forget -
That sometimes a kiss is everything.